Their Implications for Competition Law
Edited by Michal S. Gal, Mor Bakhoum, Josef Drexl, Eleanor M. Fox and David J. Gerber
Chapter 1: Competition law and the economic characteristics of developing countries
During the past 20 years many developing countries have adopted competition laws and begun enforcing them. Despite this, the role of competition law and its enforcement remains contested, even among the practitioners and analysts sympathetic to this body of economic regulation. The legitimate objectives, enforcement priorities, methods of implementation of competition law in developing countries, and the extent to which they should depart from those in industrialized countries, are debated to this day. While no claim is made to settle these profound matters in this chapter, the goal here is to document many of the economic characteristics of developing countries that might be relevant for debates over the role of competition law and its enforcement. Drawing upon databases from the World Bank and elsewhere, differences between countries at different levels of development (as proxied by levels of gross national income per capita) are documented and discussed. While the focus here is on the characteristics of different groups of countries, readers should bear in mind that there is often considerable intra-group variation. This is a technocratic way of saying that not every developing country is alike. Indeed, the members of subsets of developing countries, such as the least developed countries, are not alike either. Still, practitioners and analysts familiar with one group of countries’ circumstances (for example, high income industrialized countries) may find it valuable to be acquainted with the different circumstances in countries with different per capita income levels.